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Saturday Deluxe / 26 January 2019

Neil and Liam Finn live

Busy week as ever here at SDE and I was delighted to attend my first gig of the year as Neil and Liam Finn played a show in East London.

It was a real family affair, with Neil’s wife Sharon on bass duties and his other son Elroy on drums. The setlist pulled songs from all over the place, including some from Neil and Liam’s Lightsleeper album (issued last year), a sprinkling of Split Enz tracks (including ‘I Got You’), some Liam solo songs, a Pajama Club number (‘Golden Child’) and of course some well chosen Crowded House classics.

Liam is an incredible musician, happily switching from guitar to drums when required, and, like his dad, is a beautiful singer. The harmonies between father and son were absolutely sublime, magical at times, and Neil is undoubtedly proud of Liam’s musical and singing skills. The only question marks are in songwriting and I’ll admit to being unfamiliar with both Liam’s songs and the songs he has written with this dad. I was probably not alone in that and in fact Neil himself acknowledged at the end that lots of songs wouldn’t necessarily be that familiar to large parts of the audience.

But this didn’t really matter, because every few songs one would come along that you knew really well, including ‘Four Seasons In One Day,’ ‘Distant Sun,’ ‘Pineapple Head,’ ‘Fall at Your Feet’ and inevitably, a rousing ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ at the end. At one stage, there was literal screaming with delight from a small group of the audience right at the front, when Neil, at the piano, teased us with a short burst of ‘World Where You Live’.

The evening was just so much fun, with lots of banter and in-family joshing (although Sharon didn’t really join in, leaving it to the boys) and despite some technical glitches rendering one of the electric guitars useless for a long period, everything sounded great and appropriately intimate.

If anyone thought Neil was going to let superstardom as the new frontman of Fleetwood Mac go to his head, here’s the proof that it hasn’t. One imagines touring with Liam and his family in this manner, playing quite small venues, is the polar opposite to the industry, politics and scale of playing with the Mac at Wembley Stadium! There is clearly room in his life for both.

Having not seen him play live since Crowded House’s Together Alone tour in 1993, the evening was a reminder that Neil’s incredible talents have not only endured but, luckily for his sons, are also hardwired into his genes. I will now look forward to exploring Lightsleeper further.

Check out the full show setlist here, and you can order Lightsleeper below.

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Neil & Liam Finn

Lightsleeper - CD

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Neil & Liam Finn

Lightsleeper - vinyl

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20 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 26 January 2019

  1. Mathew Lauren says:

    Neil is where he belongs, and in his element — not part of “Corporate Mac.”

  2. Stephen Scott says:

    Paul, you have to give Liam’s I’ll be Lightning album a spin. It’s amazing. He’s plays every instrument on the album except on one track when his Dad and a mate join in.
    You missed your chance to buy the LP version at the gig. He was selling it for £30 and it includes a CD that has 6 bonus tracks that you can’t get anywhere else. I bought it for €15 at his solo gig in Barcelona 5 years ago. Now that’s inflation for you. What makes the vinyl release extra special is that it includes a pinhole camera kit (with instructions, photo paper, precut make-your-own-camera board insert) and a booklet of photos that Liam took using his own pinhole camera.

  3. V says:

    Really enjoy all of the Finn incarnations (actually listened to Split Enz Spellbound today) and really have to give this Lightsleeper a listen. Thank you Paul for the reminder on this. Saw the Finn family back in 2016 at Milwaukee’s Summerfest and they put on a great show during a really hot afternoon. Would like to see Neil get the CH gang together again as they made a lot of quality music. Afterglow is one of the better b-side/unreleased song albums I have heard.

  4. Brian says:

    My wife and i were at the Wednesday show. It was the ninth Finn/CH show we’ve seen since 92 and was right up there with the best. The comment about the harmonies is spot on. This was a show to watch and admire. My wife joked that she wished i looked at her like i looked at Neil!

  5. Jim says:

    I wish Neil and Crowded House would resisters Recurring Dream on vinyl, it’s the only hole I have left in my CH collection! And by the way, light sleeper is a superb album.

  6. Bob McCartney says:

    Love Neil in all incarnations.
    His last 7 Worlds Collide project was fantastic.
    Cool to see he is working with Todd, another hero of mine.

  7. Alan B says:

    Hi Paul. Are you going to be doing an article on PledgeMusic and all their troubles? Artists are pulling out due to not getting their money. There is also disquiet from pledgers who haven’t received items or refunds although personally I’ve never had any issues with them down the years.

  8. Jim Cargill says:

    At the Tuesday night gig John Sellick was standing to my left and shot this fantastic video of FAYF. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuReJqkxULs&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1Trys-4Dt5OkEtB6rG9MjtZNtYRykJ3tv8nwpJ9Dt1rSwUkXAOuXMYDbQ

  9. Jim Cargill says:

    I was at the gig too and agree with your comments. Hopefully FM is not going to monopolise his time over the next couple of years. Would very much like to see CH & Finn Bros albums and tours.

  10. Paul Taylor says:

    Been a big fan of the Finn brothers output since Dizrythmia in 1977 and acquired all the Split Enz and the Crowded House catalogue up to Afterglow. Despite this I have the shame of admitting I have never seen him live. This must be remedied soon…..

  11. Stephen Hunt says:

    It was a great Tuesday gig Paul, even being soaked by the snow didn’t spoil it! Saw Crowded House probably over ten years ago in Thetford Forest and they were fantastic

  12. Christophe says:

    Neil Finn solo work is underrated there are lot of beautiful songs..and i really love the way Crowded House reissue very complete box sets of each album …saw them in Paris in 1992 for the Woodface tour (with Tim Finn ) and Richard Thompson opening act

    • Patrick Cleasby says:

      Christophe- I was there too! Bataclan was it? Or some posh club…

      I was there Tuesday too. As well as Birmingham

  13. Gary Eckerson says:

    I love Neil in all his incarnations, but Liam is also quite a talent on his own. I saw him three times during his Brooklyn residency a few years back. Aside from his first solo outing (“I’ll Be Lightning,” which, to be fair, is still very good and even exceptional in a few spots), his output has been outstanding. Well worth exploring. I urge anyone who hasn’t done so yet, get his catalogue. Get it ALL! Even the Betchadupa stuff to listen to once you’ve digested the more mature stuff released under his own name…

  14. Paul Fraser says:

    Being less familiar with Crowded House, I only recognised a couple of the really famous songs, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the gig. There are enough hooks in those and the Lightsleeper tracks to make a first hearing immediately pleasurable, and Liam and Neil’s harmonies felt like more than two people at times. Big props to the audience too, who joined in on Crowded House songs and sang like a choir rather than a crowd. It was a rather special evening.

  15. Henrik says:

    As a longtime fan of everything Finn (NF solo, Crowded House, Finn Brothers) it’s nice to read that the Finn Family Show is also a great listening experience. I look forward to Bear the resultat of the collaboration with ToddRundgren!
    http://kwbe.com/abc_classicr/todd-rundgren-working-on-new-project-that-may-include-collaborations-with-neil-finn-rivers-cuomo-abcid36147424/

  16. Ralph says:

    I saw them at Edinburgh Queens Hall last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. There’s a joyous vibe about them and quite rightly some parental pride on show too

  17. Martin Stacey says:

    Nice one Paul, this is good to hear. Lightsleeper and Neil’s previous, Out Of Silence, are both excellent. The musical talent in those Finn genes!

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